Interview: Joe Weaver of Fort Ryland


On a quiet road close to downtown Reno, there is a beat-up house, just across the street from an office building and underground parkade. The front door is up a flight of worn concrete steps, and a driveway slopes steeply downward to a wood garage door. One day last summer, Stick To Your Guns played this garage, as have  Lemuria and letlive., and soon Harms Way will make their return. The schedule is packed, with shows happening on average four times a week.

This, is Fort Ryland.

Fort Ryland was a punk house and DIY venue space long before Joe Weaver moved in. Since he took over as primary manager and booker for the venue, he’s worked hard to make Ryland the go-to place for local shows of all genres.

Just prior to the Fourth of July festivities, we got the chance to visit his venue and talk to Joe about Fort Ryland and the Reno scene. This interview followed:

What can you tell us / what do we need to know about Fort Ryland?

Fort Ryland is a fifteen-year-running DIY basement venue that [hosts] any and all range of shows. We are a non-profit, collective [household] that lives, breathes, and preaches diversity, individuality, and happiness. We want everyone to know that no matter your musical preference, race, political ideals, and personal choices you are always welcome to come to Ryland and be a part of our local scene and [our] collective. We pride ourselves on offering this safe place for like-minded individuals to come and feel like they can be a part of the house and what [it] has to offer. No one is left out, and our doors are open to any and all who need a place to go.

How did you first get involved with Fort Ryland?

I’ve been going to shows at Ryland since I was 16. It was always a place I knew I could go to be amongst my friends and like-minded individuals, a place I could go to be myself, and express myself. A safe [haven]. I had been friends with the girl who had been the main point person for shows and booking for a long time, last spring she had made the decision to move to NYC, and I was offered by the other roommates to take her spot in the six bedroom house. Shortly after accepting and moving in we had a drastic change of roommates, and lost all but two. At this point me and the other remaining roommate decided that Ryland wasn’t something we wanted to give up on. To continue the legacy, regarding the cost to keep the house alive. That’s when I took over all assets and here we are.

What makes Fort Ryland different than other venues in the city?

As a venue I’m always trying to do what I can to give back. As a house we take absolutely nothing from the door. 100% of everything we make goes straight back into the pockets of the touring bands. We as a house subsidize the cost of any and all that could come with owning a house venue, ex. Electricity, heat, [etc]. We also offer the house to anyone coming through, band or not, as a collective we really want to preach that we are here to support and make [it] easy for any band that comes through, the community and hardcore scene means so much to us as a house. We want to share what we have to offer with anyone and everyone coming through our city. Our door is always open.

If you or your band are considering coming through Reno, email joe or hit him up on social media at @xjosifx.